Remember this ditty from years ago?
"The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday. If we don't get a holiday, we'll all run away!"
Victoria Day - to many the official beginning of summer. Opening the cottage, parades, tentatively planting the annuals, hauling out the summer gear, the BBQ and making summer plans.
Perhaps a time to reflect on Queen Victoria as a symbol of the impact England had on the world.
Revolutions – agricultural, industrial, mechanical, economic and social --and a global language - all English legacies.
Pretty impressive for a country barely 1/8 the size of Ontario!
The solid English characteristics of duty, politeness, queuing, discipline, loyalty, dignity, sacrifice for the good of the nation, which served much of the world well, regretfully seem to be falling from favour in our current times.
The meeting started with every table solving some anagrams related to the month of April – get the brain cells working before the serious business.
There are a number of committee positions to be filled for next year.
Sharon Bale talked about the Getting to Know You Committee – it is a small time commitment, only 1 meeting per year. Committee members take turns attending the management meeting and introducing the members who will be speaking. They need one new committee member.
Geri Shearer informed us that the Program Committee will need three new members next year. Each member of the committee is responsible for finding and introducing a speaker for two general meetings. This is usually all done by the end of the summer. Also, if you have any suggestions for speakers, please pass the information on to the committee.
Norma spoke on behalf of the Special Events Committee, which will need two new members next year. This committee plans and sells tickets for the luncheons at Christmas, Valentine’s and the end of the year.
Lee Mroz told us that she and Dot Wells are stepping down from the 50/50 committee, after many years of selling us our tickets as we arrive. Our club will need two new members to look after this, starting in September.
There were 95 women in attendance in April. We had 4 guests with us: Elizabeth Brekelmans was with Geri Shearer, Carol Anderson was a guest of Edith MacAulay, Mary Aucoin was with Mary Donlevy and Robin Butt was a guest of Ruth Butt.
We welcomed two new members to our club. Jane Fletcher was a social worker whose current interest include crocheting, reading and volunteering.
Barbara Newell worked in psychology and social work and now pursues swimming, walking, theatre and travel.
There were 91 members present at the meeting.
In preparation for the new directory which will come out in June, please
make sure that Deb Moss is aware of any email, address or phone number
that is different from what is in the current directory.
The annual final luncheon will take place on June 19 at the Elm Hurst Inn. Doors open at 11:30, the bar opens at 11:45 and the lunch buffet will start at 12:00. Tickets are $30 (please pay by cheque) and will be available at the May General Meeting. If you are unable to attend the May meeting but would like a ticket for the luncheon, contact Norma King before June 12.
Sue Courtney and Joyce McKinney will be retiring from this committee in June, so the committee will be looking for two new members.
Sharon introduced Maureen Pow, a long-time resident of Woodstock who will celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary this summer and who has 11 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. She decided to tell her story in the form of answers to questions that she has been asked by her grandchildren.
Q1. What are some of your memories of Scotland in the 40s? Maureen remembers having 3 evacuee children from Edinburgh living with her family during the war years; she remembers the air raid shelter in the garden, rationing, listening to Churchill on the radio, the big party when her uncle returned from the war in North Africa and the gas masks children had to carry to school – hers looked like Mickey Mouse.
Q2. What were your favorite toys? A toy hospital made from cardboard boxes which had electric lights and beds made from match boxes.
Q3. Who influenced you most growing up? Her parents and teachers, but especially her grandfather who took her fly fishing and instilled a love of reading in her.
Q4. When did you arrive in Canada? Maureen’s family arrived in June of 1947. They flew via Iceland and Maureen remembers her first impression was of vast empty landscapes seen when flying over Labrador. They lived in Toronto for 5 years before settling in Woodstock.
Q5. What were your first jobs and how much did you earn? The first job was babysitting for 25 cents an hour. Then came strawberry picking with memories of kids piled into the back of a pick-up truck. After grade 10 Maureen filed at Simpson’s, then worked for 3 weeks in a gin factory earning 75 cents an hour.
Q6. When did you start to go with Grandpa? They met in 1953 at WCI on the bus going to a football game in Stratford and then at the tea dance after the game.
Q7. What were some of your jobs? Maureen taught Grade 5 in Kingston, learned bookkeeping after her marriage and the birth of their 4 children, trained as a “Colours” consultant, taught ESL to immigrants in classes at the YMCA in the late 80s and loved that job most of all.
Q8. What have your favorite trips been? Maureen enjoys going back to Scotland. She also particularly enjoyed a trip in 2003 to Churchill Manitoba to see the polar bears.
Q9. What advice do you have for growing up in the 21st century? Maureen advises her grandchildren to do something they love, to be empathetic, to set aside time for themselves and to look after the planet.
Geri introduced Robbie Donaldson, a chaplain with the local Salvation Army. He was accompanied by Naomi, who works with him in some of the social programs offered in Woodstock.
Mr. Donaldson started by giving us a bit of his background. Four years ago he was in a very bad place and was sent to the Salvation Army for counselling. This turned his life around and he then pursued the necessary education to become a chaplain with the Army. He provided a brief history of the Salvation Army. It was founded by William and Katherine Booth in 1865. The initial purpose was to provide soup, soap and salvation on the streets of London, England. This eventually led to them starting their own worship services. It was originally called the Volunteer Army. It came to Halifax in 1870, London Ontario in 1882 and has now been in Woodstock since 1884. The Salvation Army is in 131 countries world-wide.
A major part of the work they do is the Thrift Store and Family Services, now housed in the same building on Huron St. Here they offer bread products to about 100 clients daily, and they assist 10 clients daily in other ways. They also currently provide housing for up to 5 families, in places they can stay for up to 6 weeks, until they can secure their own housing. The philosophy at the store is “Sit a While” and all employees are trained to talk to clients who need a listening ear. Staff is also trained to use Nalaxone kits, to administer first aid and to deal with mental health issues. He provided us with some information about the Thrift Store: they give work to WDDS clients; they use volunteers for sorting, pricing stocking shelves and cashiering; re-cycled metal that comes in is sprayed orange before it is further recycled to deter theft; clothes that can’t be sold are recycled and earn them about 8 cents per pound – you can donate clothes that fall into this category by putting them in a bag labelled ‘for recycling’; they do not accept entertainment centres as they are too large for today’s living style; he also cautioned us to not donate outside of donation hours – this creates a mess outside the store and often leads to increased waste management charges.
The Salvation Army band, a familiar site at events and in parades, started with a family of brothers in England. They wore their military uniforms and brought their brass instruments to open air meetings. It has evolved from this but one thing hasn’t changed – they still use English style instruments, such as a cornet and not a trumpet. The bandmaster in Woodstock, Jim Gordon, has served here for 55 years.
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Today’s winners were Anna Sweeney and Sharon Galoway.
May: Maureen Brankley and Sharon Harding
Getting to Know You for
May: Evelyn Dodds
Speaker for May: Janine Jackson and Anne-Marie Wallace Phillips from VON Sakura House
Wednesday, May 15, 10 am at South Gate
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